Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 1 April 2016

Bordeaux or Colonsay? No contest!

 Colonsay – marked with a red spot

A significant proportion of both the UK wine trade, especially at the fine wine end, along with the wine press will be out in Bordeaux to play their important part in the annual en primeur circus. 

Whether the 2015 will revive the flagging interest in buying en primeur remains to be seen. Although it is always interesting to assess young wines, buying en primeur should come with several health warnings as the newsletter message below from Jancis Robinson MW indicates – 'how non-definitive these barrel samples are' and 'however tempting it must be to show us the most flattering samples'.

Email message from Jancis Robinson MW (1st April 2016)
'By the time you read this I should be fully immersed in assessing embryonic samples of the latest Bordeaux vintage. Having canvassed members of, as I tend to do every year, I know that a significant proportion of them want early assessments of the 2015 vintage and the wines produced, so, ever obedient, I will do my very best. But I do hope everyone realises just how non-definitive these barrel samples are. The wines will not be delivered in bottle for more than two years into the future. A lot can happen in that time. And we have to rely on individual producers to show us samples that are as representative as possible, however tempting it must be to show us the most flattering samples.'

Not only may the wines well turn out to be rather different from the way they tasted during the en primeur week but there are too many examples where customers never saw the wines they had ordered and, for which, they had paid. En primeur can be a gold-plated gift to fraudsters. 

Even before the boom in scam wine investments from around 1998 there were companies like Green's and Nick Davies' The Hungerford Wine Company, which failed to deliver their customers' wine after trousering their money.  

Leaving out and out scams, such as the Bordeaux Wine Trading Company, there continue to be too many instances where customers are either out of pocket or experience disappointment and hassle. 

Right at the end of last year Marco Correira of bust En Primeur Ltd rose again as the World of Wine. Correira is still trumpeting the advantages of buying en primeur when his previous company En Primeur Ltd racked up losses of £2.4 million.      

This year I was contacted by Greek customer of Direct Wines/The Hailsham Cellars, who is still trying to get hold of his six bottles of Château Latour ordered en primeur way back in July 2011!        

Moi ?
I am heading in the opposite direction to Scotland on the midday Highland Chieftain from London's Kings Cross getting off at Kingussie well up in the Cairngorns. 

We are heading up for a family wedding on the Isle Of Colonsay. The intrepid couple have decided to get married on Kiloran Bay, recently chosen by walkhighlands as one of their best island beaches, in early April! Could be wonderful but equally they may be saying their vows in horizontal wind and rain.  

Expect to see some photos from Scotland over the next few days.   

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